New Mossley residents have called on the council and other statutory bodies to step in and remove hundreds of tyres that have been dumped at the bonfire site in the estate.
Over the past few weeks, huge piles of tyres and wooden pallets have been stacked up on the green at Manse Way - directly opposite Hill Croft and Earlview schools.
The Times was contacted by a number of local residents this week. None of them wanted to be identified, but all expressed concerns about tyres being dumped at the site.
“It’s ridiculous. They start collecting earlier and earlier every year. The place is a complete mess and the residents want something done about it,” one woman said.
“We are not against having a bonfire in the estate, but we don’t want this mess and we definitely don’t want them burning tyres - it’s illegal, so why isn’t something done about it?”
Another resident added: “What are the council and the Housing Executive doing about this? The place is an absolute tip. I’ve lived here for more than 20 years and it’s the same nearly every year. These guys (the bonfire builders) just turn the estate into some sort of dumping ground and no-one does anything about it. It’s a joke.”
Local Progressive Unionist Party representative and community worker Jack Shaw stressed that he is engaging with bonfire builders and residents to try to resolve the issue.
“We are totally against damaging our environment by burning tyres, but what we are for is working with people on the ground and trying to change their mindsets,” he commented.
“It’s not about threatening people with masked stormtroopers coming into estates to remove tyres - that won’t work in any place. We need to engage with the people on the ground and talk to them to try to resolve this.”
Bonfire builders in New Mossley haven’t signed up to the council’s bonfire protocol - a set of guidelines relating to bonfire site safety, collection dates and issues such as the burning of tyres. But asked if they might sign up in the coming months, Mr Shaw said he “wouldn’t rule anything out.”
Back in 2009, following negotiations, hundreds of tyres were removed from the site by the council.
Responding to calls for them to take action again this year, a spokesperson for the local authority said: “The council will engage with bonfire builders to remove inappropriate material where it is possible to do so, in order to minimise the impact on residents and visitors to the area. The council also works closely with key landowners including the Housing Executive and with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency which has responsibility to safeguard the quality of the environment through effective regulation of activities that have the potential to impact on air, water and land.”
A spokesperson for the Housing Executive, which owns the land at Manse Way, added: “The Housing Executive is aware that material has been gathered in New Mossley. We are working with the local community and other agencies to try to resolve the situation.”